We started out talking about discovering your passion as a step on the path to purpose. Because I can’t resist alliteration, this week we are going to talk about perseverance.
Because passion with perseverance leads to unstoppable purpose!
Perseverance is defined as the persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Boy, does that sound like a barrel of laughs! However, it is one of those life skills or traits that will serve you well throughout your entire life.
We all face challenges on a regular basis and have times in our lives when it’s important to be able to persevere. For me, I have to think about college. Man, was that hard, and I sure did want to quit a few times to make the pain go away – especially when I was taking Differential Equations! But I persevered and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not happy that I did. It taught me so much more than the content of the classes.
The trick with perseverance is that it’s not something you want to practice when the going gets tough. Instead, it’s something you want to work on regularly so you’re good at persevering when you hit a rough patch.
Here are the best ways that I developed this trait that have stood the test of time. And, let’s face it, a lot of time has passed since I graduated college having learned these lessons!
Establish a Routine
A great way to get in the habit of perseverance is to start with a few simple tasks and then practice them daily. I am of course talking about a routine. Think about your day and your week and the tasks you have to do regularly. This could be at work or at home, or even better, both. Come up with a regular routine and get in the habit of following it without fail. Not only will it be great practice for perseverance, it will also make your life easier and help you get more done.
In college, I developed a routine that, on school nights, I had to be in bed by midnight. That was whether I had an 8 a.m. class or not. Or whether it was Monday Bar Night or exam week. No excuses, no exceptions. This was hard because temptations to stay up late abound in college. But I persevered. And, truth be told, I think it was one of the reasons that I DID make it to graduation.
Now, as a mature adult (!), I have an evening routine and a morning routine because I just get more done when I’m on autopilot at those times of day.
Make a To-Do List
For anything that doesn’t fall into your daily and weekly routines, create a to-do list. Start the night before and list anything and everything you need to get done the next day (I call this a brain dump). Doing it at night helps you sleep better knowing you’ve captured the list. Plus, your brain works on things subconsciously at night and you might wake up to a solution to that nagging issue you have. The next day, add to your list as needed and cross off the things you get done (my favorite part…). Do what you can to get through your list each day.
While finishing each task on your list isn’t always an option, don’t get in the habit of putting things off just because you don’t feel like doing them. Get done what you can and transfer the rest to tomorrow’s list.
Sometimes a task seems daunting, but it’s really not. Those are the tasks that feel doubly good when you cross them off the list! I’d been putting off cleaning a light fixture in my bathroom for months, and when I finally did it, it took about 10 minutes. And it felt amazing to mark that one complete!
You know you should exercise regularly. Just in case you need it, here’s one more great reason to motivate you to get it done: You can use the habit of getting some form of exercise each day as an “exercise” (pun intended) in perseverance. What a great way to multi-task and accomplish two important things at once! As an added bonus, the exercise will help you stress less and increase your focus to get through your routine and your daily to-do list.
Coincidently, I am changing my morning routine starting tomorrow to put exercise at the beginning of the day instead of the end. I find I have too many excuses if I put it off, not least is that I’m TIRED by the end of the day!
I’m going to persevere through at least 30 mornings and see where I am by Memorial Day, weekend. I figure if I can be in bed as a college student by midnight, I can roll out of bed without looking at my phone for an hour, too! See, college skills CAN be useful after a “few” years.
I also think there might be something to the idea of doing something challenging for you first thing in the morning. I had a friend try to convince me to take cold showers in the morning because “if you can do that, the rest of your day has GOT to be easy!”
As with almost anything else in life, practice makes perfect. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to find yourself in a position of needing to be good at perseverance before you’ve learned HOW to be persistent in the face of difficulties.
Instead practice now, get good at it and you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you.
You’ll find yourself living a fuller and more satisfying life and, of course, all that daily exercise is good for your health too. If that’s not a win-win situation, I don’t know what is.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Listening to a wife is like reading the terms and conditions of a website. You understand nothing, still you say…